Newly-published book to be available during Greencastle festivities

Staff Writer
Echo Pilot
The “new” Brownsville Church of God is shown in the above recent photograph. It was the subject of many fond memories of Lawrence Brown who was interviewed in April 2004 by Rev. C. Bernard Ruffin for Ruffin’s book Voices of Chambersburg – An Oral History of the African American Community in Franklin County, Pennsylvania Vol. I of V. Voices of Chambersburg, published by Allison-Antrim Museum, will be available for sale on April 7. It will sell for $23 plus $1.38 tax. Ruffin will be one of the authors who will be present for the book signing on April 9 at the museum and in downtown Greencastle during the PA Civil War 150th kickoff in Greencastle on April 7 – 10. A complete listing of events, including the Civil War book authors, can be found at www.greencastlemuseum.org 
The weekend events are co-sponsored by the Franklin County Visitors Bureau. For more information call 717-597-9325.

Voices of Chambersburg ­ An Oral History of the African American Community

in Franklin County, Pennsylvania Vol. I of V is a newly published book

written by Rev. C. Bernard Ruffin. Ruffin will be one of the authors who

will be present for the book signing April 9 at the Allison-Antrim Museum

and in downtown Greencastle during the PA Civil War 150th kickoff in

Greencastle April 7 ­ 10.

Ruffin opens the introduction thusly, ³In recent years students of history

have been increasingly interested in the voices of the ordinary person.  In

the past, ³History² was the story of kings and presidents, generals and

statesman, or men and women distinguished in the fields of philosophy,

science, literature, art, and music who exerted some major influence on

subsequent generations.  The ³little man² and the ³little woman² did not

count for much.  Sometimes the best window into the everyday lives of the

³average² woman or man are their personal recollections or those of people

who knew them‹oral history.²

Some Chambersburg Roots, published in 1980, was co-authored by Stella Fries,

Janet Gabler and Ruffin.  Voices of Chambersburg is an extension of the 1980

book, containing interviews mostly done between 2003 and 2006.  Seven

interviews done in 1979 for Chambersburg Roots are included in Voices of

Chambersburg.  The oldest oral history was written by Eldora Jones White in

1937 when she was a high school freshman.  Jones is a cousin of Ruffin.

Voices of Chambersburg is an extensive compilation of personal interviews

and remembrances of places in Franklin County containing well over 1,400

pages.  For that reason, Allison-Antrim Museum, publisher of Voices of

Chambersburg, is issuing Ruffin¹s book in five volumes.  Volume I,

consisting of 266 pages, will be available April 7.  It will sell for $23

plus $1.38 tax.

A complete listing of events, including the Civil War book authors, can be

found at www.greencastlemuseum.org  The weekend events are co-sponsored by

the Franklin County Visitors Bureau.

One of the people interviewed by Ruffin was Lawrence Albert Brown (b. 1935)

Chambersburg. He was interviewed in his home on April 24, 2004.  In the

following excerpt, Brown talks about the Brownsville Church of God, located

along state road 997 off of Route 30 east, that he remembers when he was a

child.  ³The Brownsville Church of God is over a hundred years old.  The old

church was built in the shape of an ark.  I don¹t know who started it or

built it, but I know it was anciently old.   The front of the church faced

the road.  It had wooden steps that came up like on a platform to the

church.  On the graveyard side of the church there was a little place where

there was a little door down in the ground, and I understood that was where

the Underground Railroad hid slaves. There were oil lanterns around the

wall.   The oil lights were a funny shape, two on each side of the wallsŠ

The church was phenomenal!²

³The church should never have been torn down.  There were a few kids in

Sunday School, but none at all at church.   Edgar Tasker had this dream in

which he saw the church filled with children, so he had the old church torn

down.  I almost begged him not to have it torn down, but to build another

church beside it, but he said he was not.  He wanted his dreams to come

true.  He showed me the plans, what he saw, and, sure enough, it¹s now that

way.  It¹s amazing.  There¹s all kinds of little children there, singing and

dancing and praising the Lord.²

³Brownsville¹s just a small little town‹a village.  It¹s out in the country.

How many people lived in Brownsville when I was a boy?  I¹d say no more than

40 or 50.  It was just a few houses.  The families were: Brown, Spoonhours,

Keyes, Wilson, Butler, Selby, Bradshaw, Reynolds, and Richmond.²